recyclable films for pouches have already been marketed. For example, Dow Chemical Co. years ago developed materials for an all-PE pouch that can be recycled via retail drop-offs. Since then, Nova Chemicals released its own technology to make recyclable stand-up pouches.
ProAmpac’s notable innovation is the design of the recyclable pouch.
“What’s unique about it is we’re able to make a flat-bottom box-style pouch out of recyclable material,” said Vance Fortenberry, director of product development at ProAmpac. “This is really all about the pouch style and our ability to convert it into that pouch style.”
The flat-bottom style provides five “billboards” on which to display graphics, and it’s popular with lawn care, food and pet food companies, Fortenberry said. The style is growing in popularity. Earlier recyclable pouches have been bottom-gusset stand-up pouches, which have side seals and fewer panels on which to display graphics and text. ProAmpac’s first recyclable stand-up pouch, introduced in 2011, was a bottom-gusset design, for example.
Developing the flat-bottom, box-style pouch required overcoming production challenges associated with its quad-seal structure. The coextruded film is made up of different layers of various densities of PE. One challenge ProAmpac had to overcome was determining how the PE materials should be layered so it can run a single web through the Totani Packaging Machine, Fortenberry said. “That machine is very unforgiving in terms of temperature and tension and what it requires in order of form a pouch out of it,” he said.